Editorial: City Council skirts open meetings law

From The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction):  Something is seriously amiss at City Hall when the city’s top administrator quits and pockets $127,000 on his way out the door and the public has no idea why.

Severance packages are routinely negotiated when a public body’s executive administrator is fired before his or her contract expires. In fact, there’s usually language in the employment contract to address this situation if it arises.

But when an administrator voluntarily resigns, citing “conflicts” that have compromised his effectiveness, why would the City Council agree to pay him anything at all?

We don’t know because the Grand Junction City Council had no discussion — zero, zilch, nada — when it unanimously voted Wednesday to accept Rich Englehart’s “conditional” resignation. Englehart resigned on the condition that he’d get severance money.

In the absence of any public discussion on the matter, we’re left to speculate about the events that led to Englehart’s resignation and the City Council’s rationale for accepting his demands.

This isn’t how government is supposed to work. There are laws on the books that require elected officials to be transparent in their decision-making.

Unfortunately, our local elected representatives have a rich tradition of hiding behind a personnel issue to deprive their constituents of their presumptive “right to know” under the First Amendment.

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